George W. Bush said something along the lines of, 'Fool me once, shame on me... fool me twice... you can't get fooled again.' It's a quote that popped into my head when thinking about #4 on my list, defensive tackle Tommie Harris. Reason is, these last couple years, the Bears have been waiting for Harris to, take your pick (get healthy, grow up, regain his Pro Bowl status, all of the above).
In this ongoing series, I'll look at which Bears I think will need to contribute the most in 2010 for them to have a successful season. Some things I thought about when compiling this list were, on field impact, but also leadership, position depth, and other intangible attributes.
In terms of football talent, Harris can be dominant. In terms of knucklehead moments, well... he's pretty adapt at those too. Harris needs to simply put his head down and work his butt off. He has a lot to prove. Is he healthy? Because when healthy he can be a difference maker, drawing double teams and collapsing a pocket. Will he stop with the silly suspensions? I sure hope so, he needs to to have the lunch pail mentality and just do his damn job. If he has to go in for some rehab, go get some rehab.
All reports are that Harris is in great shape and feeling better than he has in some time. Where have we heard that one before? Maybe the signing of Julius Peppers has lit a spark in Harris. Peppers, who had a rep for not being the hardest of workers, has been setting a great example for his teammates so far. And Harris seems to be following suit by working hard, so far anyway.
The Peppers signing could have an even bigger impact. His entire career he's been drawing double teams, so the dilemma posed to teams will be: who do you double team now, Peppers or Harris? My guess is Peppers will draw his fair share of help, leaving Harris some single blocking. And if Harris can keep up the kind of play he displayed during the late stages of 2009, and he's blocked one on one, I can see a career year from Tommie Harris. I just hope JA doesn't go out and rework his deal...
The Three-Technique defensive tackle is an important piece of any one gap, cover two, type of defense. And even at whatever speed Harris is playing he's still the best one on the roster.
The list so far:
#10 - Robbie Gould - Kicker
#9 - Matt Forte - Running back
#8 - Olin Kreutz - Center
#7 - Mike Martz - Offensive Coordinator
#6 - Chris Harris - Safety
#5 - Chris Williams - Left Tackle
#4 - Tommie Harris - Defensive Tackle